Gen Raheel takes up regional security with Kerry, highlights Kashmir issue

Published November 18, 2015
Challenges related to Afghanistan and India and the measures to solve them dominated the discussion between the two dignitaries. —ISPR/File
Challenges related to Afghanistan and India and the measures to solve them dominated the discussion between the two dignitaries. —ISPR/File

ISLAMABAD: Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, who is in the United States on a five-day visit, met the Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss matters relating to regional security and highlighted the need to resolve Kashmir issue, the military’s spokesman said.

The director general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Lt Gen Asim Bajwa, informed through a series of tweets that General Raheel met John Kerry on Wednesday to talk about issues related to regional stability.

Challenges related to Afghanistan and India, and the measures to solve them dominated the discussion between the two dignitaries, Bajwa said.

Kerry acknowledged the contributions and the enormous sacrifices made by Pakistan in its fight against terrorism, the ISPR chief said.

Gen Raheel and John Kerry talked about Afghan owned reconciliation and the way forward in this regard.

On this occasion, the army chief also reiterated Pakistan’s desire to solidify US-Pak relations based on mutual interest and respect.

Earlier on Monday, the COAS met CIA chief John Brennan and discussed security challenges facing the region and the way forward to confront these.

The army chief stressed the need for a conducive environment in the region for re-initiating an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process while the CIA director acknowledged the accomplishments of Zarb-i-Azb and its positive impact on the security calculus.

While on Tuesday, Gen Raheel met US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter and Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert O. Work, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) Gen Joseph Dunford, Army Chief of Staff Gen Mark Milley and Centcom (Central Command) chief Gen Lloyd Austin.

During the meetings, Gen Raheel and American officials discussed defence cooperation between US and Pakistan and the need for enhanced defence coordination.

The army chief is in the United States on a five-day visit, in a trip analysts have said will underscore security issues facing Islamabad and Washington in the region as well as the dynamics relating to civilian-military ties within Pakistan.

After spending five days in Washington, the army chief would go to Brazil on a three-day visit for talks on cooperation between the two militaries. From Brazil, he will go to Ivory Coast to spend a day with Pakistani troops who were serving there as part of the UN peace keeping force.

The US Department of Defence said on Monday Washington was grateful that the COAS was visiting the US for consultations on bilateral issues, Dawn newspaper reported.

The visit comes weeks after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with US President Barack Obama at the Oval Office to discuss many of the same issues said to be on his army chief's agenda, including Afghan peace talks and Pakistan's nuclear ambitions.

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